How Long Does the Whole Mediation Process Typically Take?
The divorce mediation process can take anywhere from two to four months to complete. It involves working out the terms of the agreement, filing paperwork with the court and attending at least one hearing. At the hearing, the judge will review the couple’s agreement and make a determination as to whether or not it’s fair and equitable. These hearings only take about 10 minutes. If the judge approves the agreement, then the divorce itself would be finalized four months later. We do offer an expedited service depending on the client’s needs and the complexity of their financial situation, whereby they can complete the process in one, two, or three full days.
What Are Some Examples of Divorce Situations That Are Too Contentious to be Mediated?
The only people who I believe aren’t suitable for mediation are those who have a history of domestic violence. Going through a divorce is hard and emotionally draining. It’s easy for a mediator to say that a couple is too contentious and to decide to withdraw from the mediation process. However, as a professional, I think that to do that would be to do a disservice to the clients. I work with the gamut of clients, including couples who are seemingly amicable to couples who have high conflict and have been entrenched in the litigation process for years.
Oftentimes mediation is a couple’s last-ditch effort to settle their case without having to go to trial. Every couple is different, and there can be a low, medium or high level of conflict involved. Whichever it is, an experienced and skilled mediator in conflict resolution can provide a win-win situation for a couple. I am 100% an advocate of mediation, and I think that all couples are appropriate for the mediation process, so long as they have not had issues with domestic violence.
What Are The Primary Reasons to Choose Mediation in a Family Law Case?
The best reason to choose mediation is for the significant amount of money that clients will save in legal fees. In mediation, the couple is in control of the terms of the agreement, they won’t have a judge dictating the terms of the divorce, they won’t be engaged in a public, nasty courtroom battle, and they’ll end up developing an agreement that will suit their family’s particular needs when it comes to the finances and the parenting plan for their children.
Can The Process of Mediation Move Forward if Both Parties Just Consent to Use a Mediator?
In Massachusetts, the mediation process is voluntary on the part of the couple as well as the mediator. I often get clients who started the mediation process with a less experienced mediator and were unable to reach an agreement. This is usually the case when a mediator lacks experience or feels that he or she cannot deal with clients who have conflict. The clients then end up going to two separate lawyers and find themselves spending $15k-20k in cases involving under $300k per person in assets and over six figures for high asset cases. I’m able to work with couples who are in these situations and help them reach a fair agreement through a structured mediation process.
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